POC, Asics form alliance for first Olympic gold

Published July 10, 2021, 12:50 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

Tokyo-bound rower Cris Nievarez (left) and air rifle shooter Jayson Valdez

Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino vividly remembers the successful partnership with Asics when Team Philippines captured the overall title of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Tolentino believes that stroke of luck with the world-class athletic apparel exclusively distributed by Sonak Corporation will strike again in the approaching Tokyo Olympics.

“In the SEA Games, we were overall champions and we were all wearing Asics. There’s some kind of luck with having Asics and Sonak Corporation as partners,’’ said Tolentino recently during the POC’s contract-signing with Sonak Corp.

Tolentino trusts that the cooperation with Asics brings good fortune to produce the country’s first Olympic gold medal, which has become elusive since Filipino athletes first saw action in the global quadrennial sportsfest during the 1924 Paris Games.

The 19-athlete Philippine delegation along with top sports officials from the POC will be wearing the Asics training apparel and competition uniforms during the July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Summer Games through the initiative of Sonak Corp. father-and-son owners Anil and Kabir Buxani.

“Our world-class athletes deserve to have world-class clothing as they aim to bring home medals from the Olympics,’’ said Anil Buxani during the unveiling of the Asics training gear and uniforms hosted by the POC.

Asics Philippines is now the official footwear and apparel partner of the Philippine delegation to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

According to Kabir, they will provide caps, jackets, shirts, socks, shoes, luggage and two sets of track suits for each Olympic-bound Filipino athlete apart from outfitting the rest of the national team contingent.

“We are sponsoring all of the delegates to the Olympics with full attire for training and even for the actual competitions,’’ said Kabir Buxani.

Rower Cris Nievarez and air rifle shooter Jayson Valdez were dapper in parading their Asics track suits during the media digital unveiling recently which was also attended by Team Philippines Chef de Mission Nonong Araneta and POC secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes.

“On behalf of the athletes and officials, I would like to thank Asics. It is a partnership blessed with good fortune. Maybe this is it,’’ said Tolentino, confident of Team Philippines winning its first-ever gold medal in Tokyo.

Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe were named flag-bearers in the opening ceremony of the Games on July 23. 

Gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdangangan and Juvic Pagunsan, boxers Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno will also carry the national colors in Tokyo.

Joining them are skateboarder Margielyn Didal, swimmers Luke Gebbie and Remedy Rule, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, trackster Kristina Knott and weightlifter Elreen Ando.

“Bring home the gold (medal). Everybody from among our athletes can deliver,’’ said Tolentino.